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Jun 24, 2008 09:44 AM

Lolita Summer BBQ #1

Headed to Lolita for the first of their summer BBQ's last night. Pork was the feature and each and every part of the meal featured it, no other protein was ever used. For $35 a person you got a "family style feast' of the following.

coca cola glazed pork belly, pickled watermelon rind, salty peanuts

This amuse was amusing to say the least. It was way to small, and I know its supposed to be. Coca Cola was absent from the flavor, as was the watermelon rind. Not badly cooked, but not great. Served on very odd string-like toothpicks.

sweet and spicy baby back ribs, tamarind-busy bee farm honey glaze,morita chile, jicama slaw

Didn't taste anything on these except Morita chile. Way too hot for the other ingredients to even make an appearance on your palate. The jimaca slaw was good.

SECOND COURSE - mixed grill plate of the following:
-pickled pork tenderloin, mexican spice rub, mango chutney- again, a little too hot. and I can handle spice, cooked perfectly though.
-pork carnitas, canela-orange glaze, tomatillo salsa- tasty, but a little offputting to have such a citrusy bite after such hot stuff.
-grilled pork sausages, pomegranate molasses-mustard- they shouldnt have charged for these as they look to have taken no care in preparing them. the mustard was grainy mustard with a pool of pom. molasses on top.
-pork chop adobado, sweet and sour adobo marinade, avocado-tomatillo salsa- really really good. the adobo on top was very good, didn't have a trace of the salsa though.

-grilled corn on the cob, roasted garlic aioli, cotija cheese, lime- best corn on the cob ive ever had.
-negra modelo drunken beans, chipotle, crema- too thin, but tasty.
-buttermilk coleslaw, grainy mustard, cilantro, mint- very good coleslaw. nice crunch, nice flavor and nice cooling aspect to all the fiery pork.
-cornbread with roasted jalapeno, fresh corn,chile-lime butter- very good cornbread, stayed moist at the expense of staying together and had to eat with a fork, but no complaints, it was that good.

mexican chocolate pot de crème with
fresh berries, cinnamon crème friache, applewood smoked bacon caramel - there is a smoking ban in philly restaurants, there should be a pot de creme ban too. this was , like they all are, a weird texture. it smelled like a candle and the bacon caramel actually wasn't that bad, it was some trace of cinnamon that put this over the top and neither of us could finish it, we headed to capogiro for dessert.

Service- most awkward server I have ever had. She was quiet, not assuring and took about 25 minutes to get us our check. I wish I had the guts to show that with the tip, but I know thats how they make their money and we were there long, so she got 20 percent. Valerie Safran helped out once in awhile bringing food and clearing plates, she really is charming and knows what she is doing.

All in all, I would recommend checking out their menu next week for this special. If the food looks good, give it a shot. They have some kinks in getting out the food because it all cooks at different times, the sausage was grilled, yet it was cold. they must have put it on the grill first, when it should have went on last. Oh well, check it out, its a good idea with some improvement could be a solid go-to monday meal in the summer.

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  1. My two cents -

    Service aside, I loved the Monday night BBQ. I thought the food was great, and the concept of luring lots of pork-loving people out on a Monday night is brilliant. It was loud and full, but everyone seemed to be having a great time. Gotta say, I disagree with Gorp on some of the dishes ... have highlighted some of my favorites below.

    - Bacon bit: Loved it. Pork belly was tender, loved the slightly sweet crunch of watermelon rind pickle (there was plenty of it in my serving), and the peanut bits were just great. And for an amuse, I thought it was actually quite sizable.

    - Ribs: Didn't find them too spicy at all - thought it was a good balance of spice, flavor, and sweetness. Ribs were beautifully cooked -- falling off the bone, but with a great layer of crust on the outside. Jicama slaw was a good touch.

    - Pork sausages: Delicious. Flavor and texture close to a dry chorizo, nice snap of skin, and though I didn't expect it, it worked well with the mustard (no hint of pom in mine, though).

    - Pork chop: Perfectly cooked - tender and pink on the inside. The adobo was only meh.

    - Sides: Agree with Gorp, corn on the cob was delicious. Moreover, cornbread was outstanding -- tender but with some texture, full of real corn flavor, and a nice kick of jalapeno. Having this cornbread recipe would pretty much complete my life.

    - Pot de creme: Agree that the texture on this one was off, but flavor was good. Bacon caramel was good, but too delicate -- bacon brittle would have been better.

    I agree that it all comes down to the menu - if next week's looks good, I'm there. Service and timing were way off, but I'm sure this is because they weren't expecting such crowds on a Monday night (note - I've never had concerns about the service at Lolita before). I expect that they'll deal with it better in coming weeks, and, as Gorp said, having Val there definitely helps. Overall, I'm really glad I went -- the menu was delicious, and $35 for this meal has got to be one of the best deals in town, hands down.

    11 Replies
    1. re: nns

      do you remember who your regular server was? I was sitting in the window and we had the girl with her hair pulled back. I loved those seats though.

      My taste for ribs is based off of barbecue, and I am pretty much a rib snob. Mine didn't have much if any sweetness in them at all, and it was in posting that I remembered that they had honey on them, I didn't get it. I agree with how they cooked them though, it was very nice, but they didn't take the membrane off the ribs, something almost all rib people would agree makes them alot more flavorfull and tender.

      You really enjoyed that sausage? I found it to be entirely too tough, The bias that they were cut on was at such an angle that some pieces had an entire side that was casing, but that could have been just ours , I liked the taste, but the temp. can't be excused when its advertised as grilled sausage. I am curious as to what the feature will be next week. Are they going to go all Matyson on the menu and use inspiration? Or will they keep with a meat a week?

      1. re: Gorp512

        @Gorp - There is no way YOU can be partial! ;-O

        1. re: crazyspice

          Why? I like other people's ribs often, I love a change of pace from smoked, smoked, smoked....These were well cooked, but , imo, not balanced.

          1. re: Gorp512

            I am just husband cringes when I order something out that I prepare better (for the most part) in my own environment.

            1. re: crazyspice

              oh, i get it now. along the same lines of why I find it nearly impossible to go out to an italian restaurant.

          1. re: Gorp512

            How can I get the menu for these weekly BBQ's?

            1. re: Gorp512

              I think we must have had the same server last night. The first sign that she was having a bad night? Before ordering a whole pitcher, we asked for a taste of each of the special margarita flavors that night (which we've done before without any issue ... hey, blood orange basil v. watermelon mint is a touch choice!). There was a long pause, she looked straight at us with a peeved look that said "I really don't want to deal with this right now," and said something to the effect of, "Let me see." Thankfully, she brought us a flight after a few minutes. Lest you think I'm imagining this, my dining partner read her behavior the same way ... and we are both generally very forgiving of servers in a tough spot.

              As to ribs, I don't come close to being an authority. If it's meat on a bone, I can eat it with my fingers, and it's got good flavor, I'm sold. But I gotta say, I really did enjoy the sausage. I admit that it wasn't what I expected when I read the menu -- I was thinking more along the lines of a loose sausage with emphasis on the pork flavor, and was surprised when these chorizo-looking slices came out. But they were delicious. I got a good balance of sausage to casing, and mine were definitely warm (though, actually, I don't think "grilled sausage" necessarily implies "hot off the grill" -- especially in a setting advertised as BBQ, I'm fine with grilled sausage sliced and served room temp with some cold coleslaw). As to the texture, I thought it was just right for what it was. That is, if I had been expecting weisswurst and gotten this, I would have complained about the tough texture -- but it was clear once it was served that the sausage was meant to be closer to a tight-packed and cured chorizo. I guess we can chalk this one up to a combination of personal taste and lack of consistency on a busy night.

              I'd love to hear your thoughts on their next try! Here's hoping for more meat...

              1. re: nns

                we had a weird moment with her and the margaritas as well, when I asked if it was ok if we just went with a virgin pitcher, she said,' well people usually mix them with tequila'. we obviously didn't have a bottle, so when I said, well its ok without it, she said, ' ill see if they can do that'. very awkward.

                i got my menu off foobooz

                1. re: Gorp512

                  A quick leftovers followup -
                  We wrapped up the food we couldn't finish and brought it home to reheat for dinner tonight. I'm lazy, so I just microwaved everything for not too long (didn't want to cook the chop through). Served lukewarm, Gorp, you're right -- the sausage was tough.